Vila Restal was a career criminal and recidivist who was rescued from Cygnus Alpha by Roj Blake. Although apolitical and cautious to the point of cowardice, Vila's enormous skill at penetrating security systems made him a valuable member of the crew. He was the only character to appear in all 52 episodes. Portrayed by Michael Keating.
Vila was an unreliable witness when it came to his own background, mentioning his time in juvenile detention wards and how he was first sent to a penal colony at the age of 14. He claimed to have been a wanted man all his life.
However, on other occasions he claimed to have intellectual ability of an Alpha-grade worker, only having bought his Delta-grade status to avoid being sent to Federation Space Academy (he also described his status as 'grade-4 ignorant'.
He claimed the Federation authorities had tried on a number of occasions to remove his criminal tendencies through psycho-surgery, but it had never taken. He was eventually sentenced to permanent exile on Cygnus Alpha.
A Reluctant RebelEdit
He later opted to join Blake's escape bid from Cygnus Alpha itself and joined the Liberator crew. His lockpicking and safecracking skills came in handy on numerous occasions, even if the others occasionally found his timidity, carelessness and occasional drunkeness irritating. He made no effort to leave the ship even after being offered the chance of a new and probably happier life on 'Vilaworld'.
Most people assumed Vila was simply foolish, a belief he seemed quite happy to encourage, but his technical skill if nothing else showed he had a high intelligence. On occasions, however, he was prone to making very bad judgements - trusting the Hitechs on Chenga, for instance. Possibly he simply didn't cope well with being under pressure.
He himself once said 'there isn't a lock I can't pick - if I'm scared enough' and this seems to have been true, as no Federation security system seemed capable of keeping him out. Alien locks such as those on Spaceworld posed him no difficulties either, though he at one point said he thought voice-print recognition systems were foolproof and that the lock on the Scorpio hangar door was 'very difficult'. Criminal activity seemed almost instinctive for him, to the extent of stealing Blake's watch while awaiting deportation from Earth.
Vila liked a drink, and was prone to respond to a difficult situation by heading for the nearest bottle. Dorian's wine cellar did not last long once Vila had taken up residence in Xenon Base. He was not above using his boozy reputation to his own ends, once pretending to be drunk in order to propose a dangerous scheme he himself would seem too inebriated to be pressganged into executing.
Vila was nervous about direct personal combat and rarely fired a shot in anger. He was a little more enthusiastic when it came to ship-to-ship combat. He could handle himself in a pinch, for example he knocked out Arlen immediately prior to the massacre on Gauda Prime, but in general preferred to keep out of the action.
Although apparently a bit of a joker, Vila sometimes revealed a hint of sadness about the way his life had gone - 'I never had a chance, did I? I picked the wrong parents.'
Vila had a complex relationship with Avon, based on a surprisingly deep mutual understanding. Both were well aware of the others' abilities and sensibilities, and the two were surprisingly similar - both deeply pragmatic, ultimately motivated by their own self-interest rather than any great ideology. The two could work together with great efficiency, as in their attempt to defraud the casinos of Freedom City.
Avon treated Vila with frequently contemptuous indulgence, but the two appeared to trust each other on at least some level. However, their bond was severely and possibly permanently damaged following their visit to the planet Malodar. Trapped together aboard a shuttlecraft in a decaying orbit, it was necessary to shed weight to survive - and Avon was informed that Vila weighed enough to save the ship. Genuinely believing Avon meant to kill him in order to save his own life, Vila went into hiding. Even after they were both saved, Vila remained wary and suspicious of Avon.
His other crewmates seemed to disregard Vila and his abilities. Tarrant occasionally bullied him, even to the point where Avon interceded on his behalf. Dayna appeared to find him rather obnoxious.
His only real friend appeared to be Gan, whom Vila seemed to admire for simply being different: 'He was straightforward, wasn't always expecting to be cheated and double-crossed - not like us.' When Gan's failed limiter threatened to kill him, Vila was provoked to the extent of taking up a gun and threatening to kill Kahn unless he operated.